One Room Challenge Fall 2017 | The Kitchen

Lately I’ve been motivated to get back to blogging, but when you’ve been out of the game for a year, it’s not always easy to jump back in.

My last posts were all from the One Room Challenge last Fall, when we were preparing for baby P. Well if you follow me on any social media at all, you know that not only is Eleanor here, but a whole lot has changed!! More to come on all that later, but for now, I liked the symmetry of picking up the blog where we left off with the ORC. This time with the kitchen!

I have waffled so much on doing the ORC this time…and obviously I’m late to the game (it started bright and early Wednesday and Thursday), but we are hitting the ground running. We are hoping for maximum visual impact with minimal changes.

These pictures are of our kitchen as it sits now. I may have done a quick clean up, but no major cleaning or organizing because it helps to show how dysfunctional this room has become for us.

We spend so much time here, especially being that I’m home with E most of the time, we really spend a lot of that time cooking or eating IN the kitchen. So my main objective is to make this space really work for our family right now…but also make it look damn good too, so I’m happy and wanting to spend my time here.

What’s on the list for an upgrade?:

  • Paint the walls (I am so over the hot pink accent stripes!!)
  • Paint the cabinets (I’ve never liked this light wood here.)
  • Paint the molding and details (The molding desperately needs some TLC and although I would love to replace it, it’s not likely with baby P in the picture.)
  • Declutter and organize overall
  • Add a main wall shelf
  • (Finally) build my custom table (that I designed almost 2 years ago…)
  • Add some drawer storage (We don’t have a single drawer in our kitchen. Not one.)
  • Possibly swap out the cabinet hardware
  • Find seating

So there you have it. We’re back in the game! Leave a comment and let me know what you think!! Next week I’ll be sharing my inspiration for the new look of the space and possibly a little progress.

ORC+Guest+Participants+Graphic

Oh and if you’re reading this post like, “ORC, what’s that?!” It’s a HUMONGOUS decor blogger link up party created and hosted by Linda from Calling It Home. Every Wednesday for 6 weeks the featured bloggers share a room they are transforming from start to finish; and every Thursday, the participating guest bloggers around the world follow suit in their own room! So it’s one room, 6 weeks and more than 100 bloggers. It is quite the decor party, and reveal week is filled with insane spaces and reveals that will have you turning all heart-eyed emoji at them. It is seriously an inspiring design challenge and I hope you follow along with me and at least a few of the other bloggers that are out there!

Here’s a look at all of our previous one room challenges (living room and bedroom). This blog link party has really forced us to make this condo really feel like us. Though these spaces continue to evolve as our family grows here, I love how the ORC has forced us to ‘finish’ the rooms and make this home ours!

ORC Week 2 | The Plan

Or, the things I love and loathe about our current living room.

When I shared last week I got a ton of comments from people who LOVE our current blue paint (Benjamin Moore’s New York State of Mind, btw). We love it to, but it is dark in this small space, an although I think it adds a ton of our personal flair to the space, I think a lighter brighter space could work to our benefit in here. Since we do love the blue, we are going  to stick with our same basic color scheme though we’ll be selecting a lighter blue.

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We used to have too many surfaces and pieces of furniture but we cleared a ton of excess away when we KonMari’d earlier this year. So, in general, I’m happy with our furniture. (Though the cushions on the back of the couch could use a little help.)

Let’s talk about the art. We purchased some fabulous painting while in Italy on our honeymoon, we have gotten all of these pieces incorporated into our home, and a long ass time ago, we planned out our gallery wall…during this transition, I would like to attempt to create a DBK original painting to include in the gallery wall and get everything actually hung up so the gallery is a completed focal point. The three other pieces on the living room walls (the areal view of Manhattan in black & white, the painting between the widows–one of the honeymoon buys–and the mirror) are all staying, not just in the mix, but in their existing locations too.

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The details, aka the things I loathe. Our condo is in a pre-war building that has details up the wazoo, but when the last person attempted to update our unit, they gave no concern to the details. Our moldings look atrocious. They have layer upon layer of paint on them, some have been spackled in an attempt to patch them, and some have wires (that are old and not connected to anything) fastened into them–and then painted over multiple times! Needless to say the moldings are going to be getting some serious TLC on this journey.

 

I would love to include refinishing the original hardwoods into the plan this go around, but I’ve not had luck finding anyone that does that in our area yet, and I’m not sure it will fit in the budget this go around either.. But I’m optimistic, so we will see!

So what’s new? Well, first and foremost, we need some sort of window treatments in here… The unit across the courtyard was empty when we moved in so they weren’t a priority anywhere except the bedroom and bathroom really. And now that we have lived without them for so long ,it has become what we are used to.. .but in addition to the privacy they will add, I’m excited about finding something that might aid in reducing our cooling budget in the summer too.

Finally, I have been planing with a good friend/coworker of mine to build a radiator cover to enclose that old over-painted beast, and I am hoping that it will be done in line with this challenge! And lastly, I’ve been trying to hunt down the perfect light fixture for this room too, though I haven’t found anything perfect yet, I’m not ready to cross this detail off the list.

So that’s our story around here for this week! What do you think of the plan? Do you like change in blue tones and the attention to details? Make sure you take a few minutes to hop over to the Calling it Home ORC page to see what is new with the featured designer participants this week along with the other guest participants too!

Since I was gone last weekend, nothing has changed around here yet, so the upcoming days/weekends are going to be be busy!! I think sanding moldings and determining the specific new blue for the walls will be my main goals for this weekend! What is your favorite mid-light shade of blue for paint?

Tomorrow (deepening on how things go) I’m hoping to get my updated posted on our little girls weekend in Napa, so be sure to check back for that later this weekend too!

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The Life Changing Magic

So this year one of my goals was to spend more time reading and to make my own home a priority in getting it to the same level of comfort as I work so hard to help my clients get to in their homes.

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Well I’m busy, so time to read ends up falling pretty low on the totem pole, but I had heard so much about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, by Marie Kondo that I thought maybe that would be a good way to get two birds. Read something that helps me get my own home more in order.

So again, with no time to read, I posted on Facebook about audio book apps and what people thought of them. Most of my friends left comments raving about both Audibles and Overdrive, and I would be willing to try either, however Overdrive is a free service that works in connection with library systems so it is only as good as the library you are linked to and Audibles is a monthly fee for one book per month or a higher fee for multiple books. You can look into more on that here, but I ultimately decided to download Overdrive and connected using my Mom’s library card to start and see about the service.

Her library is amazing and so far has had every title I have searched for and I’m on my third book with more on hold… I might be addicted to audio books. 

That said, the first book we listened to was the life changing magic, to learn the KonMari method. I say we because I wanted to make sure that P and I listened together so that we could work on the process together, sense after all we share the 525SF space equally with equal amounts of possessions that add to our chaos and do not bring us joy.

We started listening to the book on Monday the 18th I want to say. On Friday the 22nd there was a blizzard brewin’ so I stopped at Home Goods on my way home to buy some organizational baskets and things. Friday night we listened to more of the book and Saturday morning we listened throughout brunch until we got to a point where we felt we had heard enough to get the concept and start working on it. (This was about 2/3 through the book where she had completed discussing the order of the process and how the process works, so we were in a good place really to start.)

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Everything all laid out, ready to sort. No judgement!

I have to say, at first it was hard and I did end up with a lump in my throat sorting through some items. P and I discussed it and he said that he learned after a few ‘tough’ items to figure out, he realized that he really knew which way he should go on them and some things were just harder to detach from, but if they don’t look good, feel good, etc., then do they really bring you joy just taking up space?

We moved past the hump, finishing our clothes and by Sunday morning our closet was put back together in such a stunning way, and we had rearranged our bedroom minimally but gained so much space in the process! (Can’t wait to share more on this down the road!)

The order that Marie Kondo discusses in her book is first clothing, then books, papers, komono and mementos. Komono is a Japanese term that basically covers all of the miscellaneous items you may have, such as linens, cleaning products, medicines, accessories around the home, kitchen goods (from dishes to the items in your pantry), etc., so this is a vast category to get through.

Sunday we worked through all of our books, then started on the komono (there is a specific list/order to follow mentioned in the book).

Monday after work, we went through our papers, realizing we had skipped this necessary and evil step.

Tuesday we sorted through a few more areas of komono in the morning, and then started taking a few things to the car to donate.

Tuesday night we took out our narrow dresser that had been in our closet along with our old filing cabinet, both now empty, down to the street (in JC if you put any furniture on the curb, people will come pick it up in under 24 hours) and someone else had picked them up by the time I got home from work the next evening. The last few nights and mornings upon coming and going to work, we have taken a few more items and loaded them into the car.

This morning, I took the first car load to the Goodwill Donation Center. In this car-load alone, we donated 10 garbage bags of clothing/shoes/accessories, 2 boxes of ‘komono,’ 2 folding chairs. At home we still have 3 bags of closthing/komono, one box of books and one more folding chair to donate that wouldn’t fit in the car this time around. That and we still have about half of the komono category to go through. Not to mention, we have also taken something like 6 bags down to the garbage and recycling (mostly recycling when we can!) since we started sifting through everything, and we have one stuffed bag to take to the shredder.

Here is what I am feeling throughout this process. First of all, holy shit. How is it possible that we even had so many things just sitting around, stuffed in corners and hidden away in the back of our closet that we truly don’t love?! That in and of itself is crazy. Second of all, I feel amazing. I am starting to feel lighter in my space.

When I would come home from work before, it was always hard for me to feel calm. I always felt like there was something that had to be taken care of because there is always stuff everywhere and surfaces covered. Especially doing what I do I have always felt a bit of guilt that my home doesn’t look and feel as beautiful as my clients do.

Homes should be lived in, and that means they should have stuff. You should have things that are meaningful to you laying out on your surfaces. Things that when you see them bring you joy. But you shouldn’t have a seemingly bottomless pile of junk mail covering a section of your kitchen counter no matter how many times you clear away that section. You shouldn’t have your electronics (laptops, iPads, etc.) just laying around on the coffee table. And you shouldn’t have a pile of miscellaneous crap just sitting on the table for no good reason. For these reasons, I am completely absorbed and invested in the KonMari method. The life changing magic is no joke.

I can feel our life changing. I can feel the weight of the things that don’t matter to us that have been filling our lives being lifted away.

For now, things are still in a state of chaos as we are still sifting through things one day at a time and around the time when we are at work or my client appointments, etc., because this takes time. The more you have, the longer it can take. In the book Marie Kondo says that it can take up to 6 months for some people… I’m aiming to be done in less than one just because I don’t do well with things up in the air-I need some sense of finality, but I also want it to be done right, so we will get it done when we can.

We have still been listening to the book and are just about finished with it. I have started to get really excited about what this ‘life change’ means for us moving forward. I think we will be so much more comfortable and relaxed in our home.

I will report back once we are truly finished with the process and the book as a whole, but I had to share what we have been up to and how amazing it has been so far. It is certainly not easy, and I wouldn’t recommend starting the process without considering what it means and if you are really mentally/emotionally/physically ready for the grueling process. I also have to say that having your spouse (or house-mates) on board is HUGE. For me, knowing that P is in this with me has been so wonderful. I feel supported and that it is a joint effort to move forward with a tidier lifestyle, and thus I feel my efforts are not wasted but matched.

Have you heard all the rage on the KonMari method and this book? Do you buy it? Do you want to try it? If you have questions, chime in in the comments section, I’m happy to help if I can!

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Designing at Home

As a design professional, one of the largest challenges I face is trying to feel like my home is in a good place all the time. The truth is, your home is a never-ending cycle of projects. From day to day activities like cooking, cleaning, etc., to larger projects and renovations, there is always going to be something to be done.

I work with my clients on this all the time, but it is tricky to actually follow this rule myself. Focusing on one thing at a time, and working with what you have is so much easier said that done, especially when I don’t have a copy of myself to hold my hand and walk me through it. So, do as I say, not as I do!

That said, I have been working on being happier with my space, with what I have and where we are at, without everything being exactly as I hope it will be someday.

I thought it would be good to focus on one room at a time, create a list and tackle it for each space to really get them in a good place. This would focus on the cosmetic only, it’s not a knockdown, drag-out scenario where you are crashing through walls or anything like that, so it keeps things small, dealing only with the finishing touches.

My problem is I don’t know where to start! Maybe I should start small and tackle the completion of our entryway. Hanging those little shoe cubbies was such a great move in that area, but there is more I would like to do… we need to change the light fixture and I would like to add a mirror (or something).

The living room has a few issues too, we have everything we need in there but it’s a matter of fine tuning, finishing the window treatments and getting them up, and the same goes for the bedroom… apparently I have something against actually hanging my curtains.

Lastly the kitchen. We just have storage and organization limitations there, but I think that will entail more planning to get to, so I’m not sure I would start with that. And the bathroom is off limits. Nothing is going to change in there, it is what it is and it’s perfectly fine and functional as is… though I do still need to share the little things I did there to increase the organization and visual appeal.

Anyway, so that’s where my house is currently… and that is what I’m considering to get moving in the right directions with my home? What space would you tackle first and what space do you think I should tackle first in my house?

Just remember, it’s not about everything being 100% finished. Your home is the story of the progression of your life. It should grow and change with you, so even if it is 100% done, there will still be little things that change in your space as time goes on and things happen. That’s a good thing. Let your home be the expression of you and give it the room to evolve with you.

Work Space Lighting

I am still working on getting my little home office work space fully put together so I can show you the real ‘after’ look from the shelving post a while back. I know some of you commented that you really needed to see the space finished to get the full idea of what I was trying to do there… so it’s coming.

One of the last details I am working on right now is the lighting. The work space is in our bedroom, and currently we only have a hideous single bulb flush mount ceiling fixture in the room. That will eventually change, but for now, I just need some dedicated light shining on my work space for when I am working either early or late and there’s not enough daylight filtering in to balance out the space.

I love lighting, so sometimes it can be hard to nail down exactly which piece is the right fit, but here are the options and some of my thoughts on each:

My primary concern for table lamps is I don’t want something with a heavy base that has large footprint. Since I added the shelves to get things off the surface to give myself more room to work, I don’t want to now limit the work surface by filling it in with a heavy-bottomed lamp. That said, I love the textured white look (though even the thought of dusting those little hexagons… no thank you) and any combination of white and gold is just so pretty, not to mention the soft handmade quality of the brushstroke lamp. (Gold Brushstroke Lamp by Jana Bek/BEK Design || White Honeycomb Table Lamp from World Market)

An alternate option would be to add sconces, I might have a mild obsession with sconces. They have no footprint and take up zero space so they are so useful. Alternately, you either need to hard-wire them or leave a cord exposed and hanging down the wall, and you have to anchor them into the wall as well…which ends up being more of a permanent detail or feature in your home, so if you will be there for a while, no big deal, but as this is our starter condo and it’s tiny and we likely won’t be there for too long and thus, I don’t know if this is the best option. That said, we have several nail holes and things that we will need to patch and repair when the time comes to ready the space for resale anyway so it certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world and I could camouflage an exposed cord. I’ve also been trying to find a good way to incorporate sconces somewhere in our home basically since we moved in, so I don’t think I’ll nix these just yet. The industrial style piece is right up my ally I love it’s simple details and the glass shade and P was immediately drawn to the simplicity of the sleek white sconce. (Menlo Park Industrial Style Sconce found on One Kings Lane || Jax White and Wood Sconce from Crate & Barrel)

Lastly, there are floor lamps. They won’t take up any surface space on the desk, but I do have to be aware of how much physical space they take up in the room. They can be a great addition, help layer in the right amount of light for the space and even act as a focal point. The first option shown is just that-a statement piece-and it is glorious! I’m crushing on it hard, but at the end of the day, it might just be too much of a focal point for this area and end up pulling away from everything else that is going on here… plus I may not ever get any work done because I think I’d just be sitting here swooning over it all day. The second one is understated and simple while still being very visually appealing. I think the base is small enough that it could sit alongside the desk (or even slide partially beneath it) without taking up too much space, and I love that it brings in a touch of the gold tones, without being overkill. The black top mutes it down just enough to add an industrial edge to the glam gold base so the style is on point, but we have to consider the proportions and make sure the scale is a good fit for the space as well. (Studio Tripod Floor Lamp by West Elm || Black and Gold Crane Floor Lamp by CB2)

What do you think and which would you choose? I think I know which way I’m leaning, but I always love your input! Hopefully I can make a decision and get something ordered in the next few days so I can finish the work space and share the full reveal!

Picture Rails as Shelving {IKEA Hack}

My home office space has felt like a joke for much of our time in the condo. For the first 6 to 9 months, I was working at the dining room table. When we finally found a desk that was a good size, style, etc., we had a hard time figuring out exactly where we wanted it to go.

Picture Rail Office Shelving

We settled on putting it in the bedroom. In our little one bedroom condo, the choices were between the kitchen, living room and bedroom, and as P does a lot of work in the living room with the TV on in the background to stay current on his industry, I wanted to have my own space where I could shut the door if necessary.

We first added the desk near the door, we tried to add an old shelving unit from Ikea to see if it worked there and ultimately it just felt too crowded, but I had a plan! We shifted the layout around and now the desk space feels like a comfortable work place for me to do my thing whether I’m spreading out on the surface with layouts and material planning or I’m typing away working on the blog.

But still there was something missing. When I chose the desk, I wanted something minimal. When you have a small space and you are adding a substantial piece of furniture, you don’t want it to take over the space or weigh it down too much. That said, my desk really doesn’t have any storage. What’s more is that since I do often find myself using the entire surface to work through spaces that are in process I really wanted to do something to relieve the surface space from having to carry the necessities… so we added shelves!

(Click on any picture below to expand the gallery.)

I wanted to use something long and narrow, to line up with the length of the desk, but be shallow enough only to hold the necessities and some inspirational art. Picture rails were the perfect solution! I searched and found simple white picture rails at IKEA and headed out immediately to pick them up and later that day I set out to install them as shelving in this little IKEA hack.

Once again, breaking out the oldest drill known to man, along with the level and my handy dandy pencil! These shelves were so easy to put up, I even did them without help! So proud of myself! I love getting my little work space put together here. It is making a huge difference in my work flow. I love having a clean surface to work on and I love having a space that feels organized!

I’m sorry I don’t have more pictures to share of the finished work space, but it still isn’t really 100% done yet, so I’ll share soon when it is!

Work In Progress {Lighting}

I mentioned on Friday that one of the things I wanted to work on was our lighting. All of the light fixtures in our condo are the same exact flush-mount, single-bulb, basic fixtures you can imagine – in every room. They really don’t put out enough light for any of the spaces, except maybe the entryway, and they are really not attractive. Something’s gotta give.

Condo Lights

Lighting in general is something that I have thought a lot about since we moved in. From both a visual perspective, as well as a functional one, the lighting around here just isn’t up to par. I have thought about adding sconces flanking the bed, though I’ve recently rearranged the bedroom furniture, so I’m glad I didn’t do that. I have thought about layering in some freestanding pieces (table or floor lamps) but again, with the furniture not settled, it just doesn’t feel right to invest in anything too much right now.

So I opted to start in the kitchen. Here is a place where you cook, clean and spend a lot of time. You really do need a lot of lighting here. This is also a space where I sometimes overflow to the kitchen table to do work when I need a change of scenery, or to really spread out materials, drawings, notes, etc., So a single-bulb fixture with a frosted glass shade really just wasn’t cutting it.

Since I don’t know how much we are going to really be doing with our place or how long we will be here, I didn’t want to invest to much into something, so I opted for an option from Ikea. I found the Hektar fixture and figured $30 for a three-bulb down light, done. I had never changed a hard-wired light before, but I did my research, studied up and mostly relied on this video for instructions. The instructions that actually came with the fixture were really of no good for actually installing it, but install it I did.

So a few things I’m not super in love with, the electric box doesn’t line up perfectly square in the room, which on this fixture in our galley kitchen, I can really see that the whole fixture is angled in the space, secondly, the fixture itself doesn’t fully cover the electrical box, which really just creeps me out. I don’t like the look of the finished result, mostly because I feel like it doesn’t look finished.

But I did get the fixture installed, and it does provide substantially more light in the space. Unfortunately it isn’t perfect, but for a fixture that only cost me $30, it will do for now. Have you ever changed out any of your fixtures? I’ve also now realized that it is a lot easier than I could’ve imagined!

Two big things to remember before attempting a lighting upgrade in your home, if you don’t know what you are doing or don’t feel comfortable handling electricity on your own, do not attempt to do this on your own, call an electrician, or maybe your dad. Either way, reinforcements are a good idea. And most importantly, turn off the electricity to the area where you are working!

A Welcome Weekend

Hope you all had a great week! I know it has been quite busy around here with lots of meetings, work and life happening. This weekend is a welcome break. Well, as much of a break as I will allow myself to take — it’s so hard to sit still when there are projects to be done! So, here is my 5 on Friday list for the weekend!

A look at the gallery wall as it was before.

A look at the gallery wall as it was before.

1.This weekend I think I will work on getting some of our art hung. As I mentioned yesterday, we have quite a few pieces leaning against the wall waiting to take their places.

2. I would like to look into light-fixture and mirror options for the entryway so that we can finish that project for real and at least make some final decisions on these pieces.

3. We purchased a light fixture for the Kitchen that I will attempt to install — It is just so dark in there that we really need a better level of light to really work in that space.

4. I have some client floor plans to finalize details on.

5. And this weekend, I would like to actually plan a menu for the week so that I’m not planning things day of and cooking from whatever we have on hand. Although it is good to do this every now and again to really clean out the pantry and the freezer, I don’t enjoy doing it regularly.

And if there is any time left, maybe I will read or knit, or dare I say both! Happy Friday, friends; have an awesome weekend!

The January Cure Project

For the January Cure over at Apartment Therapy, you are supposed to make a list of “problem areas” within your space, room to room, and if it is bothering you or wreaking havoc on your day to day, write it down. Then you are supposed to decide which area you could actually tackle and get done within the month that would greatly benefit you and your space. We chose our entryway.

Entryway Update 1

The whole entryway is a bit of a struggle – or was, anyway – because of its awkward space with all the doorways off of it, small wall spaces, etc., it has always just not functioned well for us. We tried putting a chair there, we added coat hooks, nothing made it feel better. Until, I decided to add the Ikea Trones.

These little cubbies are like the best creation ever. They are a simple, stackable storage solution in a variety of colors, and I can really see how you could get a ton of mileage from them in many areas of the home. For us, simply stacked and attached to the entryway wall was the best thing we could do for that space.

Now that they are in place, there is a cubby dedicated to Brantley’s stuff, a cubby for our shoes and for now, the top cubby is used for winter. I had thought about getting some sort of more finished shelf to put on the top of the cubbies, but I’ve been really enjoying the top tray shaped area to use for our keys, gym locks, etc., it really has be acting like a great landing zone for our home.

We shifted some of the hooks around, put up a lovely frame that was gifted by a dear friend over the holidays and voila! We now have an awesome functioning entry space that doesn’t make me crazy every time I’m coming or going.

Now, if only I could find a mirror for the other wall and get a new light fixture up in there…

Living Room Revealed

The last (and only) room reveal I posted from our new condo was our bold kitchen. Our living room flows smoothly in the same tradition, using a bold wall color in combination with large neutral pieces to balance the space.

Our favorite elements of the living room are the cozy couch and rustic/industrial coffee table. Of course, I love those leather chairs, and the gallery wall is something that always makes me smile.

My least favorite element is probably the bar cart. Even though I am the one that gave it the facelift before, I think the colors are too much for the space now and would fit better in a solid neutral or metallic tone, and I would love to find the old Lucite wheels to put back on it.

What do you think? Is there a particular element that you love or live without? What is your favorite element of your living room?